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Drawing the Head and Figure Paperback – January 15, 1983

218 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Hamm is one of the best-selling authors of art instruction books. With nearly a million copies sold, his books have helped aspiring artists of every age and level of ability learn to draw and improve their technique.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; Later Printing edition (January 15, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399507914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399507915
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Drawing the Head & Figure" by Jack Hamm I rate #1 of the top four figure drawing books!

It is said that the Rennaissance Masters passed around "pattern books" for their students, with figures drawn in charcoal as simple cube shapes. This is that kind of book.

"Practice the rough"! Hamm writes. Jack Hamm's book is refreshingly straightforward. This is the best beginner's drawing book on the market today, and it will endure for many years. There's nothing here for the "drawing on the right side of my ambition" crowd. Hamm's freehand illustrations are absolutely PACKED into this book, from 10 to 25 illustrations generally, on each and every page with brief but concise text. The vast number of illustrations ensure that this book will be unchallenged as the formost of "how to draw" books for beginners.

Hamm's presentation does not overwhelm the beginner because he does not use a confusing style of teaching. His chapters are in sequential order. It's as though he took Stephen Peck's "Atlas of Anatomy for the Artist" and reduced it to its bare essential text, while at the same time, increasing the number of illustrations in the book. I'm truly amazed at how much good basic instruction Hamm has packed into only 120 pages. He is to be complimented.

$11.95 is the list price, but Amazon discounts that down to $9.56, and with the many clunky HOW-TO-DRAW books approaching $20 and $30, this is one of the best bargains on the market.

Want to know how to draw the shoulder, the "six-pack" (abdomen), the pectorals, upper body and the neck? Hamm shows how better than 95% of the drawing books on the market today.

Hamm devotes an entire page each, to show how to draw lips, nose, eyes, etc.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Volmar on August 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a clearly written, easy to follow, detailed and concise handbook to drawing the head and figure by using several different approaches and understanding the anatomy of the human body from the outside without going deeper into its musculature or skeletal structure. This fully illustrated reference contains over 900 diagrams and illustrations and is structured into fourteen carefully organized sections that pack into one book, without leaving anything out, all the information that usually takes other authors 2 or 3 volumes.
The author covers general topics like figure and head construction, basic lines of the figure, head patterns, angles and comparisons, movements, proportions and simplified figures. He also goes into specific topics like facial features, hair, torso, neck and shoulders, arms, hands, legs, and feet. As an added bonus he includes not so common topics such as youth and age, and clothing, but as a warning, note that most fashion elements like clothing, hairstyles and makeup are from the 1960's since this volume is a reprint of a book originally published in 1963.
By studying this book as if it were a textbook on a course, doing all the exercises and reviewing each section afterwards, I have noticeably improved my drawings in a very short time.
If you are a beginner, this is the first book you should buy to understand the fundamentals of head and figure drawing before going into deeper, more complicated and not so thorough figure drawing books. If you are a seasoned or professional artist, get this book to discover new principles and techniques with which to experiment. This book is a must for any artist's bookshelf.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By "extreme_dig_cm" on April 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Is it really possible for beginners to get a quick start to this difficult subject? The answer here simply is- YES!

Jack Hamm has done here what *very* few books can: he introduces beginners to clear, detailed instructions that will continue to help them grow in their skills- even all the way to being established working professionals. Even professionals can use a few pointers every now & then, and this book is incredibly jam-packed in this regard. For such a slim book, it's truly a phenomenal achievement. Great price too!

Maybe the one knock on this book is its general appearance- it's an illustrative style popular in 1963. Style is really irrelevant though(!): it's the simple tips, tricks, and clear instructions here that continue to make this book so incredibly popular, even today. All aspects of the head are considered in the 1st part: step-by-step head & feature construction; proportions & measurements; varying types & comparisons; male & female differences; skeletal structure & details; drawing features using the fewest lines possible; styles & types of hair; foreshortening & rotation; profiles for men & women; planes & shading; semi-cartoons, kids & elderly. EVERYTHING is included here.

It's the full-figures section that gets *phenomenally* detailed- 2/3 of this book. Proportions are 1st- using 8-head & 7-1/2 head standards. Differences between males & females are described & depicted. How the skeleton affects the surface of the figure is constantly emphasized. Simple lines & shapes for full-figure construction & individual parts structure here are near genius. EVERYTHING a parts analysis could include is detailed here. Torso, neck, arms, hands, legs, feet, and even *clothes* are considered. Illustrators & Comicbook artists will especially treasure this work.
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